A Northern Ireland-based investment adviser has been fined £29,300 and banned from financial services for faking his qualifications.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found Darren Colvin Cummings of DCC Financial in County Down guilty of faking two documents, which he claimed had been issued by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
He falsely claimed to have the Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) one and SPS two documents, to give the misleading impression that he had attained the appropriate qualifications to provide investment advice to retail customers.
He was also reprimanded for knowingly making numerous false and misleading statements to the authority concerning his qualifications and experience.
In a final notice, the FCA confirmed Mr Cummings does not hold and has never held the requisite qualifications to be a retail investment adviser and has never been issued with a statement of professional standing by the CII or any other accredited body.
The FCA stated: "The authority considers that Mr Cummings is not a fit and proper person as he lacks honesty and integrity, and poses a serious risk to consumers and to confidence in the financial system."
The authority has now withdrawn Mr Cummings' approval to perform the CF1 controlled function as a director at DCC Financial, and prohibited him from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity.
The FCA also rejected that his alcoholism and mental distress should be considered as mitigating factors.
The final notice stated: "The authority does not dispute that Mr Cummings experienced mental health and alcohol dependence issues during the relevant period.
"However, the authority considers that its conclusion that Mr Cummings acted dishonestly is appropriate notwithstanding his mental health issues."